Google’s plan to steal author copyright is the flip side of New Zealand’s asymmetric copyright regime.

The Stuff.co.nz website has a story this morning saying New Zealand authors are angry about Google’s plans to scan and digitise their books.

As the author of a popular book I understand why they are upset. It seems odd the New Zealand government, like so many others, is happy to bend our laws and traditions to give extraordinary levels of copyright protection to the huge movie industry corporations, but is unwilling to stand up to Google when it wants to strip the rights of local copyright holders.

Could it possibly have anything to do with the local authors not being able to finance teams of expensive lawyers and political lobbyists?

Here’s the current state of play:

  • A child in New Zealand downloads a movie from a huge multinational reducing its profits by a tiny amount – perhaps there’ll be one less caviar egg on the table at the next Hollywood indulge-fest. The child will lose its internet connection, pay a huge fine and could face a criminal record.
  • A huge multinational can steal intellectual property from a New Zealand author, wiping out their livelihood and reducing our cultural treasures – Maori have a good name for it Taonga.

Does this add up? There’s something asymmetric going on here.

Authors are knowledge workers and deserve your support. You can read more here:

NZ authors protest Google book plan – technology | Stuff.co.nz.
The Great Google Book Grab
Google steals taonga, rips off law commissioners
New Zealand Society of Authors

Incidentally, if you’re an author with a taste for technology, you might like to include your name on the New Zealand media people on Twitter list.

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